COLUMBUS, Ohio – Branch Warren will return to the competitive stage for the first time in nearly a year when he defends his title at the 24th Annual Arnold Classic at the 2012 Arnold Sports Festival.
Warren, who won the Arnold Classic and the British Grand Prix in March 2011, did not compete in the 2011 Olympia due to an injury. He will face three-time Arnold Classic champ and 2011 Arnold Classic Europe runner-up Dexter Jackson, 2011 Arnold Classic runner-up Dennis Wolf and 2011 fourth-place finisher Evan Centopani in an international field of 14 competitors.
In the Ms. International contest, six-time champion Iris Kyle will gun for her third straight victory in Columbus. She will be challenged by four-time Ms. I winner Yaxeni Oriquen and 2011 third-place finisher Alina Popa in a field of 15.
Four-time champ Adela Garcia will defend her Fitness International title against a field of 17 that includes 2011 runner-up and 2011 Arnold Fitness Europe winner Tanji Johnson and Camala Rodriguez, who finished fourth in Columbus last year.
Two-time defending champ Nicole Wilkins and 2011 runner-up Erin Stern will resume their rivalry at the 2012 Figure International. Ava Cowan, who finished third in 2011, Cheryl Brown (5th in 2011) and Teresa Anthony (6th in 2011) also highlight the field of 16.
Nicole Nagrani, winner of the inaugural Bikini International in 2011, is back to defend and will face a field of 18 that includes Sonia Gonzales and Nathalia Melo, who finish second and third, respectively, in 2011.
Matthias Botthof (Arnold Classic), Alevtina Goroshinkaya (Ms. International), Diana Monteiro (Fitness International), and Raquel Hernandez (Figure) earn automatic invites based on overall victories in their respective classes at the 2011 Arnold Amateur IFBB Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure & Bikini Championships. Gloria Keplinger Tarpley earned an invite into the Figure International based on her overall win at the 2010 Arnold Amateur.
The 24th Annual Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International, Figure International and Bikini International contests will be held March 2-3 at Veteran Memorial and the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio during the Arnold Sports Festival. Visit www.arnoldsportsfestival.com for more information and www.ticketmaster.com/arnold for ticket information.
2012 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International, Figure International and Bikini International Invite Lists:
2012 Arnold Classic (14)
2012 Ms. International (15)
Maria Rita Bello
2012 Fitness International (17)
Regiane Da Silva
2012 Figure International (16)
Gloria Keplinger Tarpley
2012 Bikini International (18)